Another … sigh … Trumptian Terror

On Wednesday, the day after the mid-term elections, Donald Trump demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  We all knew it was coming, and I think others will follow. While I have no love for Jeff Sessions, who is a proven racist, I am greatly disturbed by his termination.  With Sessions gone, the door is open to either terminate or stifle the Mueller investigation.  The Mueller investigation is no ‘witch hunt’, as Trump has claimed, but I strongly suspect has uncovered scandal and corruption beyond what we can even imagine.  Methinks Mr. Trump doth protest far too much, and his claims of innocence are a joke … a bad joke.

Let us take a look at the man who will be serving as a temporary replacement for Session.

Matthew-whitakerHis name is Matthew Whitaker.  He is an attorney with a rather unremarkable career thus far, his biggest ‘claim to fame’ being that he has run for public office three times … and lost ‘bigly’ two of the three.  Whitaker ran as a Republican for Treasurer of Iowa in 2002 and lost by 12%.  He ran for the Iowa Senate seat vacated by Tom Harkin in 2014 but came in only 4th in the republican primary with less than 8% of the votes.  After the 2014 loss, he became a paid advisory board member for a company called World Patent Marketing, a fraudulent business based in Florida that deceived inventors into thinking that the company had successfully commercialized other inventions.  The company was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2017.

In September of 2017, Whitaker was appointed to be Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice.  The month before, he wrote an opinion column for CNN titled “Mueller’s Investigation of Trump is Going Too Far.”  His premise was that the Mueller investigation should be limited and should not probe into Trump’s finances.  And in June 2017, three months before becoming Chief of Staff, he said publicly …

“I also think, you know, we have another hearing in front of Congress where there is no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. Democrats continue to conflate the collusion issue, which there is no evidence of, with, with the fact that Russians did try to interfere with the election.”

His views on the Mueller investigation are high priority and would take an entire post to discuss, and while that is the most urgent issue that he will likely face in the coming two months, there are others that are equally appalling.  Let’s take a look at a few …

  • On gun control“The mass shootings we’ve seen in our country have been often times and always executed by mentally ill individuals who those laws never would’ve impacted in the first place. So I don’t think infringing on Second Amendment rights will prevent those types of events.”  Right-o … why bother to try to save a few thousand lives every month … they aren’t your lives, after all!

  • On climate change“I think the evidence is inconclusive, but there may be a human component to global warming. But that’s very small and it may be part of the natural warming or cooling of the planet. I’m certainly not a climate expert, but I don’t believe in Cap and Trade or those types of regulations that try to hamstring the U.S. economy as other countries continue to put carbon into the air. I don’t believe in big government solutions to a problem that doesn’t appear to be that significant or quite possibly isn’t man made.”  Yeah, again … what’s a few million lives as long as they aren’t yours?


  • On education“I think the Department of Education should be disbanded and the resources either returned to the taxpayers or put into the schools. Bureaucrats in Washington D.C. shouldn’t know how to better educate my kids than I do.”  Heh heh heh … like you’ve shown yourself to be so bloomin’ smart???  🤣🤣🤣


  • On marriage“I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Throughout history it’s traditionally been up to the churches and to God to define that. I don’t have an omnibus solution. Certainly it’s affecting all sorts of parts of our country. Here in the state of Iowa we can’t even get our elected officials to do anything about it and that’s really frustrating. It’s affecting our military. There are chaplains in the military under a lot of pressure to go against their religious beliefs.”  Bigot.  Homophobe.


  • On federal judges“I’d like to see things like their worldview, what informs them. Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? — which I think is very important. And what I know is as long as they have that worldview, that they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.” Hey Jerkface … every hear of separation of church and state???  Has anyone ever told you that this is a SECULAR government???

Add to that he has indicated his belief that Social Security is unconstitutional and that basic labor laws like the minimum wage must be struck down.

In an interesting twist yesterday, a number of prominent attorneys including none other than George Conway, Kellyanne’s husband, have claimed that it is illegal for Trump to appoint Whitaker as acting Attorney General because he is evading the requirement to seek the Senate’s advice and consent for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.  Don’t hyperventilate over this one, folks.

Under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, otherwise known as the “appointments clause” of the U.S. Constitution, a principal officer, that is one who reports only to the president, must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate under its “Advice and Consent” powers.  Legally, I agree with Mr. Conway and the others, but … this is the reign of Trump, where Trump considers himself above the law, and the relevant people in Congress and the Supreme Court have upheld his lawlessness more than once.  And the bottom line is that if Trump is forced to bring Whitaker before the Senate to confirm his nomination … well, need I say more?  It will mean not much more than a delay of a few days.  Remember Brett Kavanaugh?

Ambassador WHO??? WHAT??? WHY???

It costs a $200,000 initiation fee to be a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida.  Annual dues are $14,000 per year.  I was considering joining, but I came up a bit short … quite a bit short, actually.  Point being, only the rich waste that much money for hedonistic ‘pleasure’, if it can be called such.  Really, I would have to take it a step further and say that only the mindless wealthy who don’t realize how many starving people in the world could eat for a year for the money they throw away just for the ‘privilege’ of eating a steak, swimming in a pool, hob-knobbing with other mindless rich people, and perhaps seeing Donald Trump in person.  It is naught but a tacky status symbol.

One of those mindless wealthy is this woman …Lara Marks.pngWho in the Sam Heck would wear that abominable dress with all those frills and frou-frou???  Her name is Lana Marks.  See all those ugly purses, pocketbooks, handbags … whatever you wish to call them … on the table in front of her?  She ‘designed’ those.  Take a gander at the top of her website .

handbagsYep, folks, for only $20,000 you can own one of these ugly things.  Actually, I am told that some actually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the most expensive going for $400,000!  To add to the abomination, her products are made of alligator skin … alligators were killed to make this bimbo rich!!!  And people buy these?  While other people go hungry?  Oh, my poor head!

alligator baby

Please don’t turn me into a purse?

But back to Ms. Marks … she is somewhat less than an honest person, as I suspect is the case with most members of Mar-a-Lago.

“I did ballet with the Royal Academy of Ballet’s South African affiliate in East London. I started my tennis career in East London. I have played in Wimbledon, the French, and South African Open.”

Turns out, there is no record of her ever playing in any of those tennis matches, and when questioned, her memory was hazy as to who she had played against, and even the year or years she played.  I am pretty sure that if you played at Wimbledon, you remember the exact date! But her dishonesty doesn’t end there.  According to the Palm Beach Daily News …

“Marks has repeatedly been accused of stiffing her attorneys, accountants, landlords and employees. She is also embroiled in bitter, international legal battles in South Africa and Israel with her siblings over a family trust and the care for their 89-year-old mother.”

Whoa … back up a minute — “… stiffing her attorneys, accountants, landlords and employees.”  Who, I ask you, does this remind us of???  Exactly … none other than the snake in the Oval Office, Donald Trump!

All of which explains why he is reportedly planning to nominate Marks to be the next U.S. ambassador to South Africa!  Granted, Marks was born in South Africa, however she has not returned there for at least 40 years, and if being born in South Africa qualifies her for the ambassadorship, it is the only thing that does!  She does not have a college education, has no experience in foreign policy, no government experience.  All she has ever done is draw purses and live the ‘lifestyle of the rich and famous’.

The ambassadorship to South Africa has been vacant since 2016 after Patrick Gaspard’s resignation. It is not one of the most challenging or demanding ambassadorships, however it is a bit more so since Donald Trump took office and called South Africa one of those “shithole countries”.  Then, he later added insult to injury when he instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study” alleged land seizures from white farmers in South Africa. The issue is racially divisive almost a quarter-century after the end of apartheid, the system of white minority rule, and Trump is woefully ignorant of the politics of South Africa.  It appears his information comes from white nationalist groups and he didn’t bother to look for facts.  Who knows … perhaps Sean Hannity fed him the false information.  Former ambassador Gaspard said of the situation …

“The President of the US needs political distractions to turn our gaze away from his criminal cabal, and so he’s attacking South Africa with the disproven racial myth of ‘large scale killings of farmers.’  This man … has no discernible Africa policy.”

At any rate, while relations between the U.S. and South Africa have not been particularly contentious in the past, they may be becoming more so unless Trump can reign in his ignorance, and it might pay to have a real human being, one who understands the political, cultural, and economic situation in the country, rather than a rich bimbo who lacks honesty and integrity.

ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is said to be considering Marks’ appointment.  He would be justified in declining to have Ms. Marks in his country and demand somebody who at least understands his country.  Likely the position would remain unfilled if that were to happen, but under Trump, perhaps that is for the best.  If President Ramaphosa doesn’t nix the appointment, hopefully the U.S. Senate will have enough savvy to decline to confirm her.  Then again … if she is confirmed, it might save the lives of a few alligators.


under construction**Note to readers:  I will be working over the next few days on adding an archive to this blog.  It seems that I will need to make some changes to the theme, so please bear with me if my posts appear a bit messy while the site is ‘under construction’.  Thank you!

The Kavanaugh Circus

The Kavanaugh confirmation process has dominated the headlines for a couple of weeks now, and that is precisely why it has not dominated this blog.  I prefer to look behind the scenes, to find the news that is hidden by the smoke and mirrors of whatever is front-and-center.  But today I am compelled to address a couple of things pertaining to this three-ring-circus, for it has turned into a nightmare for most of us.  Kavanaugh must not be confirmed.  He has shown that he has neither the temperament nor the integrity to sit on the bench of any court, let alone the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court.  But this post is not about Kavanaugh, his dishonesty, or his childish temper tantrums.  This is about two of the three rings of this circus …


The Measure of a Man

Senator Jeff Flake earned high marks for calling for an FBI investigation into the subject of Kavanaugh’s possible abuse of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and another woman, Debbie Ramirez. He stated that, while he had voted for the Kavanaugh nomination to be moved to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote, he would not vote unless there was an investigation.  For this, he received many kudos.  My own thoughts were that if he truly felt the Kavanaugh nomination was in doubt, he should not have voted to move it into the full senate, but he did, and therefore I offered no pats on the back, no ‘Attaboy’.

My thoughts were confirmed last night in a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley, where Flake and democratic Senator Chris Coons told about the discussion(s) that led to Flake’s request for an FBI investigation.  Pelley asked perhaps the most important question in the 13-minute interview:

Pelley:  Senator Flake, you’ve announced that you’re not running for re-election, and I wonder … could you have done this if you were running?

Flake:  No, not a chance …

Pelley:  Not a chance? Because politics has become too sharp?  Too partisan?

Flake:  Yeah, there’s no value to reaching across the aisle.  There’s no currency for that anymore, and there’s no incentive.

There’s no incentive, no value, to doing the right thing for the nation, for the people who voted him into office and whose hard-earned tax dollars pay his salary.  Take a few minutes to think about that one, folks, because your own representatives in Congress feel the same.  In fact, Flake is one of the better ones, and that speaks volumes.

So, now that you’ve processed that, do you still want to high-five Mr. Flake?  Still want to praise him as a man who followed his conscience?


FOUL!!!

Once Senators Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski said they could not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court without an FBI investigation, it left Trump with no real choice but to order said investigation.  So, on Friday afternoon, he did just that.  BUT …

The investigation he ordered is extremely limited in both scope and timing, to the point that it is likely to be a sham of an investigation.  First, Trump gave the FBI only until next Friday to complete the investigation.  Then, the White House counsel’s office under Don McGahn gave the FBI a list of witnesses they are permitted to interview.  FBI investigators caution that such a limited scope may make it difficult to pursue additional leads.

There are other constraints as well.  Investigators plan to meet with Mark Judge, a high school classmate and friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford named as a witness and participant to her alleged assault. But the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there.  The FBI will also not be able to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates, who have said he was known as a heavy drinker.

And while the investigators will be looking into the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, the bureau is not to be permitted to investigate the claims of Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of engaging in sexual misconduct at parties while he was a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.

All of these limitations and constraints amount to tying the hands of the FBI, and make it less likely that the truth will be discovered in less than a week.  However, Trump claims that the FBI has “free reign” …

“They’re going to do whatever they have to do. Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing — things that we never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”

Such an eloquent speaker, eh?  And such a smart man, saying, “Whatever it is they do …”

At this point, there is nothing left to be done, it would seem, but wait and see.  We must hope that the FBI agents in charge are wise enough and dedicated enough to dig deeply and work quickly.  Then we must hope that there is no monkey business, that the results are clear and not swept under the rug.  Bets, anyone?


Kavanaugh

NOT the man I want on the bench

As I have said to a few friends, if Kavanaugh is confirmed and takes his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, we might as well hang coloured streamers, balloons, paint clown faces on the Supreme Court Building and sell peanuts in the entrance hall, for it will have lost its dignity and turned into a circus where partisanship reigns and justice is not to be found.

Who Will Be Next To Go?

It seems a foregone conclusion that Jeff Sessions’ job is likely to be toast shortly after the November mid-term elections, and it isn’t surprising, since Trump has been threatening him almost daily since he rightly recused himself from the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.  But there is another head that’s likely to be on the chopping block after the mid-terms and this one needs to be taken seriously as well.

More and more, Secretary of Defense James Mattis is coming under fire from Trump.  I’ll go into some of the reasons in a minute, but Jeff Davis, who recently retired from the U.S. Navy after serving as a spokesman for the defense secretary sums it up, I think, in two sentences:

“Secretary Mattis lives by a code that is part of his DNA. He is genetically incapable of lying, and genetically incapable of disloyalty.”

He is, at the very core, the exact opposite of Donald Trump.

The probably firing of Mattis has absolutely nothing to do with Mattis’ job performance.  According to Senator Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee …

“Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job. His departure would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”

But Donald Trump’s first priority when it comes to his staff is not whether the person is qualified, but whether he or she is loyal.  Which is not to say that Jim Mattis is not loyal, for he is, but his loyalty is to his country, not to the man-child who makes decisions based on almost anything except logic.  One of the problems, according to a number of people, is that Mattis is frequently referred to as “the adult in the room”, indicating that in the chaos of this administration and amid the temper tantrums of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office, Mattis’ is the voice of reason.

When Trump, for no apparent reason, announced via tweets that trans-gender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, Mattis announced that trans-gender service members will continue to be allowed to serve pending the results of a study.Trump-MattisWhen Trump demanded that military families no longer be allowed to accompany service members deployed to South Korea, Mattis refused, saying it could be seen by North Korea as a precursor to war.  Mattis and Trump have also been at odds over NATO and Trump’s unwise decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.  Possibly one of the biggest issues Trump has with Mattis is that despite Trump’s numerous requests that Mattis appear on Fox and Friends in order to praise Trump’s agenda, Mattis has declined to do so.

And then there is the Bob Woodward book, Fear:  Trump in the White House, where Mattis is quoted as having likened Trump’s intellect to that of a “fifth or sixth grader”.  Well … sounds about right to me!

There have been other disagreements:

  • In June, Trump ordered Mattis to set up a Space Force over the defense secretary’s objections that such a move would weigh down an already cumbersome bureaucracy.

  • In July, Trump blew up a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Mattis and other national security officials had worked on for months. The Pentagon chief and others saved the final agreement only because they shielded it from the president and urged envoys to complete it before Trump arrived in Brussels.


  • In August, Trump undercut Mr. Mattis after a news conference at the Pentagon in which the defense secretary suggested that the United States military would resume war games on the Korean Peninsula. The exercises had been suspended — against Mr. Mattis’s advice — after Trump met with Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. “There is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump tweeted.

MattisWhy should we care?  First, because the truth is that James Mattis is, in reality, often the only ‘adult in the room’.  The fate of Mattis is important because he is widely viewed — by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States — as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.  Mattis is highly popular with the men and women of the American military. Most of the rest of his fans are people that Trump does not care about: Democrats, establishment Republicans and American allies.  It is for this reason that Mattis’ job is safe until after November 6th, for even Trump realizes that it is not likely to be a popular move.

Obviously, I am not a close personal friend of Mattis, and thus have not had a conversation with him of late, but my best guess is that if Trump fires Mattis, it will come as something of a relief to the often-beleaguered Defense Secretary.  The constant chaos, disagreement and denigration have to take a toll.  I have often said, I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Trump administration, and I think those with a conscience, those who are determined to ‘do the right thing’, must breathe a sigh of relief on their way out.  I hope the observers who predict Mattis’ termination are wrong, for this nation needs him, but I suspect they are right, for he is a good man, an intelligent man, and those are not traits that are valued in the White House today.  Time will tell.

Today in the ‘Alternative Universe’ …

A few headlines caught my eye today …

Trump’s FEMA chief under investigation over use of official cars

I have to ask the question:  Is there anybody in this administration who is not under investigation???  A quick 10-minute search turns up …

  • David Shulkin – Former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs – spent more than $122,000 of department money on a 10-day trip to the UK and Denmark in July 2017—which involved only three and a half days of meetings. A government investigation into the trip found he had committed several “serious derelictions,” including bringing his wife on the trip at the taxpayer’s expense and improperly accepting free Wimbledon tickets.
  • Steve Mnuchin – Secretary of the Treasury – requested a government plane to take his wife on a honeymoon to Europe, and has come under fire for spending nearly $1 million on just seven trips.
  • Scott Pruitt – Former EPA Administrator – spent $168,000 on charter, military, and first class flights in his first year in office, despite EPA guidelines saying he should travel coach. The trips often included weekend layovers in his home state of Oklahoma. Pruitt splashed around $43,000 on a sound-proof phone booth in his office (to name only a few!).
  • Ryan Zinke – Secretary of the Interior – failing to keep proper records of his travel, been criticized for booking charter flights, and taken helicopters costing thousands of dollars when he could have taken a car. He spent $139,000 on new office doors (following a slew of embarrassing headlines, he says he has cut their cost by nearly half).
  • Ben Carson – Secretary of HUD – ordered a $31,000 dining set. The inspector general of Carson’s agency is also investigating whether Carson broke ethics rules by involving his son, the owner of a private equity firm, in government activities.
  • Tom Price – Former Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) – spent more than $1 million of taxpayer funds on his own travel in private jets.
  • Wilbur Ross – Secretary of Commerce – pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving his shipping interests, but he negotiates trade deals that could benefit some of his shipping interests.
  • Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education – despite a potential conflict of interest, increased by as much as $10.5 million her investment in Neurocore, a company that offers brain performance training to children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, autism and depression.

And then there are the ones tagged by Robert Mueller in his investigation:

  • Paul Manafort
  • Michael Cohen
  • Michael Flynn
  • Rick Gates
  • George Papadopoulos
  • Jared Kushner
  • Stephen Miller
  • Don Trump, Jr.

And the list goes on … and on … where it ends, nobody knows!

Oh … and I left out another who, in addition to being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller …

  • Donald J. Trump – continues to earn money from his businesses. The Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., has become a fundraising mecca for special interest groups, foreign governments, Republicans and GOP-aligned groups. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort doubled its initiation fee after Trump’s election. Trump has also visited his properties more than 100 times since he was elected, according to news organizations that have tracked his travels.

All of this could explain why Walter Shaub, who resigned from his position as Director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) said on his way out, “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”

Do I recall somebody promising to “Drain the Swamp”???swamp-3


Trump pushes conspiracy theory about Puerto Rico death toll

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000. … This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!”

That’s right, folks … the death toll, reported by George Washington University, was cooked up by some unnamed, evil democrats who only want to make Trump look bad.  Does anybody else feel like just slapping this man across the face … over and over again?

The hue & cry was almost immediate, with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz saying, “This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!”.  Representative Bennie G. Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, called on Trump to resign. “The fact that the President will not take responsibility for his Administration’s failures and will not even recognize that thousands have perished shows us, once again, that he is not fit to serve as our President.”

Even Paul Ryan, while not directly mentioning Trump’s tweet, said “This was a function of a devastating storm hitting an isolated island, and that is really no one’s fault. The casualties mounted for a long time, and I have no reason to dispute those numbers.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker was quick to issue Trump’s claim a ‘Four Pinocchio’ rating.

4 pinocchios


Populist Donald Trump drains swamp with fundraiser where he profits off $70,000 pictures with him

According to The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, the cheapest entry price is $35,000 per couple, which entitles an attendee to dinner. A “photo opportunity” with Trump costs $70,000, while participating in a roundtable with the president requires $100,000.

Now I ask you … who in their right mind would pay $70,000 to have their picture taken with … a slimeball???  And by the way … the purpose of the fundraiser is his 2020 campaign.  Shoot me now.swamp-2


The fun just never stops, does it?  Have a great evening, folks!

Trump Picks More Losers …

The rollback of regulations that were meant to protect the environment and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord were bad enough.  The nomination of climate change deniers Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke to top positions in agencies whose primary functions pertained to protecting the environment added insult to injury.  And now, to ice the cake, Trump has appointed William Happer for the key job of “senior director for emerging technologies” at the National Security Council.Will-Happer-climate-science-denierWant to know what’s wrong with William Happer?  Happer is a “theoretical physicist”, whatever the heck that is, at Princeton, and is one of the most demented climate change deniers in existence.  Here are just a few of the things he has to say about climate science …

  • In Defense of Carbon Dioxide: “The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.”

  • “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.”


  • “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”  Say WHAT???


  • “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

So, just what qualifies him for this position?  Well, for many years, he was chairman of the board of the George C. Marshall Institute, which was funded in part by the Koch brothers to promote climate science denial.  He also writes and co-signs anti-science Wall Street Journal op-eds.

Will-HapperThe reality is that Happer knows little about emerging technologies or real threats to America’s national security but he does know a great deal about denying climate science. And, sadly, that appears to be the only qualification you need to join the Trump team these days.

Another Trump nominee, J. Steven Gardner, had been nominated to lead the Interior Department’s mining agency, but withdrew his nomination earlier this week.  Gardner was a long-time coal advocate who applauded the decision last year to allow coal companies to dump their toxic waste into streams.

According to Tom Morris of the Sierra Club …

“Gardner has shown time and again that he will try and fight anything that gets in the way of profits for coal executives — even if it means sacrificing the health of the families and communities …”Steven GardnerLike Zinke, Pruitt, Happer and all the rest in the current administration, he is a denier of climate science.  Some of his beliefs:

  • Mining is simply “accelerated erosion”
  • Mountaintop mining is good because it creates flat land
  • There is no such thing as renewable energy

Fortunately, Gardner has withdrawn his nomination in light of the stalled confirmation process, and certain requirements by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) with which he was unwilling to comply.  Good riddance, but who will be next?  No doubt another person who doesn’t believe in science, but rather puts corporate profits above preserving our lives.Patrick Chappatte / International New York Times

environment-toon-2

The Dirtiest Game(s) in Town

Trump’s staff and cabinet are among the most corrupt people in the nation.  Remember EPA head Scott Pruitt and his abominable misuse … downright theft, actually … of taxpayer money?  Then there was Tom Price, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) who wasted more than a quarter-million on charter flights to jet all over the country.Pruitt.pngPrice & Pruitt are gone, but the corruption remains. Take, for example, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Mulvaney has a friend, Michael O’Shaughnessy, back in his home district in South Carolina.  O’Shaughnessy is the founder and president of Element Electronics, a television assembly plant in Winnsboro, South Carolina.  O’Shaughnessy was also a financial contributor to Mulvaney’s 2016 Congressional campaign.

mulvaney toonElement Electronics stands to be seriously hurt by Trump’s tariffs, and O’Shaughnessy has said the plant will close in October if they cannot be exempted from the tariffs.  Mulvaney is doing everything in his power to see that an exemption is granted to Element.  Now, it isn’t that I am unsympathetic to the situation Element finds itself in, but many, many other companies are in the same boat, and is Mulvaney trying to help them?  No, because they are not owned by his friend.  Trump’s tariffs are destructive and despite his claims, are going to cost jobs and hurt the U.S. economy.  But we cannot single out only certain companies to help because they are friends of somebody on Trump’s staff or cabinet.Zinke toon.jpgAnd then there’s Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior who, at his confirmation hearing in January 2017, said, “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land.”  And again, in March 2017 … “You can hear it from my lips. We will not sell or transfer public land.” Doesn’t that one remind you of that infamous Bush Sr. line: “Read my lips — No new taxes!”? And yet, last week watchdog environmental groups got wind that Zinke was negotiating to sell off some 1,610 acres of public lands that had been part of the Grand Staircase national monument until Trump radically shrunk the size of the monument last December.  The planned sale included 880,000 acres carved out by Trump from Grand Staircase and the 200,000 acres remaining in Bears Ears from its original 1.35 million acres.

The planned sale was cancelled last Friday, after questioning by the environmental groups, and Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt took the blame, saying it was an “oversight” …

“The failure to capture this inconsistency stops with me.”

Most, myself included, are not buying it, for Zinke surely cannot be so out of touch with the department he is tasked with overseeing that he was unaware of this.  These are public lands, folks … OUR land!  stompingIt does not belong to Mr. Zinke nor to Mr. Trump and it certainly is not their right to sell it.  I’m still not convinced they had the right to shrink it.

But Zinke’s corruption doesn’t end here.  Earlier this year, he and his wife entered into a business agreement with Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest oil field services firms and a company that, needless to say, does quite a bit of business with the U.S. government, including the Interior Department that Zinke oversees.  You can find the details here.ethics scrutiny.jpgAnd then there’s Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce who not only failed to properly divest himself of certain investments upon taking his position but has continued to meet in an official capacity with the chief executives of the companies in which he owns millions of dollars’ worth of stock.  There is no evidence that he discussed deals that could be considered conflict of interest, but there is the appearance of wrongdoing.  If I meet with a hitman, and the FBI gets wind of it, given my supreme dislike and public criticisms of Trump, guess what the FBI will assume, and guess where I’ll be going? Appearances are important in the eyes of the public.

Ross has denied wrongdoing but admitted only to “inadvertent errors”.  Last month, Ross came under fire by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for failure to divest certain holdings that he had agreed to do upon taking office. One of those holdings was Invesco, where Ross once worked and still owns stock valued at up to $50 million.  Ross recently met with a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that had given Invesco money to manage.

Ross has met with auto executives who are customers of the company he founded and still has a financial interest in. He has met with the chief executive of a rail car manufacturer whose board he once sat on and whose shares he still owns.  Sorry, Wilbur, but there is too much smoke here for there not to be a fire somewhere.

Helaine Olen, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, recently began her column …

“At least once a week, a member of the Trump administration demonstrates in an entertaining way that public service can be a great way to make a buck.”

She hit that nail spot on the head, didn’t she?  But then, when the ‘man’ who is over all these people is the most corrupt leader in the western world … what else can you expect?drain the swampIsn’t it interesting that Trump’s administration contains some of the wealthiest people ever to hold government positions, and yet they are the most corrupt, bar none?  It would seem to me that this is as good an indicator as any that wealth is addictive, always seeking more, willing to go to great lengths to obtain more, not caring a whit who they step on in the process.  It rather reminds me of a drug addict who will do anything and everything, including murder, to get his next fix.  What’s next?  Stay tuned.

One Of The Biggest Grifters Ever, Wilbur Ross, Works In The White House

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is, like almost every single one of Trump’s cabinet picks, a real piece of work. I knew this from the beginning, but upon reading Gronda’s post, even I was amazed at just how greedy and dishonest Mr. Ross is! Please take a few minutes to read this post and understand just how Trump has, instead of draining the swamp, filled it up with some of the vilest creatures that walk on two legs! Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Image result for images of wilbur ross WILBUR ROSS

Remember the republican President Donald Trump’s promise frequently delivered to his fawning supporters while he was on the campaign trail, to drain the swamp in Washington DC. This is a promise that he’s not kept. Instead, he has filled the swamp with greedier insatiable swamp critters like the US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

As per a 8/7/18 Daily Beast report, “Wilbur Ross could be “among the biggest grifters in American history,” according to Forbes magazine, amid new allegations that he may have wrongly siphoned off more than $120 million from business associates. An investigation, citing 21 people who have worked with the man who is now President Trump’s commerce secretary, claims Ross stole “a few million here and a few million there” from various companies.   Forbes reports: “All told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million.” Ross’ former colleagues…

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The Fox is Guarding the Hen House …

Back in the days when I frequently made hiring decisions, my usual venue to search for employees was the local newspaper.  In the last few years of my career, I more often used CareerBuilder or Monster.com.  On a few occasions, when hiring for a higher-level position, I used headhunters.  But never in my most desperate moments would I have dreamed of using Fox News as an employment agency!

bill-shineToday came the announcement that Trump has hired Bill Shine, formerly of Fox News, to be the new communications director, a position previously held by Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Michael Dubke.  The position has been empty since Hicks left in March after testifying to the House Intelligence Committee that she had lied for Trump.

Shine comes with his own built-in set of controversies, as he was forced to leave Fox News in disgrace in May 2017.  Shine was accused of covering up for a number of sexual harassment cases within the network.  He had been known as Roger Ailes “fixer”, similar to the role Michael Cohen played for Trump.  Ailes was forced out amid a wave of sexual assault allegations that Shine, apparently, tried to cover up, but that later came back to bite him.  Hmmmm … it seems that he will fit right in with the immorality that exists in the White House, doesn’t it?

But this is not the first time Trump has sought to hire Fox News castoffs!

  • john-boltonNational Security Advisor, John Bolton, has been a Fox commentator/contributor for the past ten years.  When hired on by Trump, he indicated that he still considers himself a Fox contributor.

  • Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Heather Nauert, was an anchor on Fox and Friends since 2007, and was hired into the State Department in April 2017, promoted to her current position in March 2018.


  • White House Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, was a Fox News contributor until her hiring in September 2017; however, she continues to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tony Sayegh, has been with Fox since 2009, and despite his duties in his new position, he still finds time to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • K.T. McFarland was hired by Trump shortly after the inauguration in January 2017, to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor under Michael Flynn.  McFarland was a Fox contributor since around 2010.  However, after Flynn’s resignation, she was asked to step down.


  • larry-kudlowAlthough this one comes from CNBC instead of Fox, it is worth noting that Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was hired in March 2018 to replace Gary Cohn who decided he had enough of Trump’s ways.  Kudlow had his own program, The Kudlow Report, until he left to take the position Trump offered.

Given the number of these people who continue to be ‘Fox-friendly’, I have to suggest that we do, indeed, have a state-run media in the U.S., and its name is Fox News.

Bill Shine is known to be a close confidant of Trump’s best buddie Sean Hannity, and I see, with his hiring, even stronger ties between Fox and the White House.  Donald Trump’s main ‘claim to fame’ is his old television ‘reality’ show, The Apprentice.  Trump is an entertainer, a provocateur, and he is running our government like just another freak show.  Frankly, if she weren’t suing him, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to put Stormy Daniels in the position of Director of the Office of Cabinet Affairs!  A fitting position, don’t you think?stormy-danielsWe needed a president who thought with his head, one who understood the workings of government, foreign relations, and environmental concerns, to name a few.  We needed a president who had morals, values. We needed a president who represented the best interests of the people … all the people.  We needed an intelligent, compassionate president. Instead, we got Trump and his band of entertainers.  The White House has been turned into the entertainment capital of the nation.  Eat your heart out, Hollywood!

ENOUGH!!!!

Alright, since Trump so loves to use those words, “You’re Fired”, then it’s time he used them to Mr. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  NOW!!!  This man is out of control, treating our tax money as his personal expense account and meanwhile doing nothing … absolutely nothing … positive toward the protection of the environment!  I thought I was done writing about him a few weeks ago, thought surely he would be fired within the week, but that has not happened, so I am baaaaaccckkk.

Despite all the scandals that just keep coming, yesterday afternoon Trump praised him!

“… EPA is doing really, really well, someone has to say that about you a little bit, you know that, Scott. People are really impressed with the job that’s being done at the EPA.”

Hello???  Excuse me???  What job?  What EPA, for that matter?  Just two days ago, it was reported that Pruitt had enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife Marlyn obtain and open a Chick-Fil-A franchise.  How does this pertain to the business of the Environmental Protection of the United States?  How does it pertain to anything other than increasing Scott and Marlyn’s wealth, which is already substantial, at least as compared to yours or mine.

When asked about the misuse of agency staff for a personal mission, Pruitt sounded just like Kellyanne, talking in circles all around the issue …

“I think with great change comes, you know, I think, opposition. I mean there’s significant change that’s happening for us, not only at the EPA but across this Administration, and it’s needed, and, uh, look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love Chick-Fil-A as a, as a franchise of faith, and it’s one of the best in the country, and so, that’s something we were very excited about.”

SOOOO????  I love P.F. Chang’s, too, but I’m not going to lie, cheat and steal to own one!  I will just go eat there once a month or so, and pay my check and leave a tip like everybody else.

But it gets even better … and remember, all this is just in the last week.  Prior to last week, he already had twelve federal investigations into his activities!  TWELVE!!!In December, Pruitt attended a University of Kentucky basketball game as a guest of coal baron Joseph W. Craft III, who has been lobbying the EPA on behalf of his coal company, Alliance Resource Partners.  Pruitt and Craft have met no less than seven times in a fourteen-month period.

And also last week, it was reported that Mr. Pruitt had visited a jewelry store in Washington where he spent $3,230 of taxpayer money!  What, you ask, did he buy?  Well, $1,560 went to buy 12 fountain pens.  $130 per pen.  WHY???  I buy a 12-pack of pens for $5.99 and they write just fine!  And anyway, doesn’t the GAO provide such things as pens, legal pads and toilet tissue?  I do not know quite what the other $1,670 was spent on, but we are told it was “gifts to the Administrator’s foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them.”Prior to any of the above, Pruitt was already under investigation for a host of potential crimes, including frequent first-class personal travel at taxpayer’s expense, inappropriate relations with representatives of the coal mining industry, unnecessary sweeping 24-hour security measures that have cost the EPA roughly $3.5 million, and more.

And amid all the scandal, Pruitt’s top aide, Millan Hupp, resigned on Monday – Friday will be her last day.  Hupp, as the director of scheduling and advance, has been entangled in many of the scandals dogging Pruitt.  She was one of two aides who received hefty salary bumps, even after the White House refused Pruitt’s request for raises. She recently testified to the House Oversight Committee that she regularly spent her days doing personal tasks for Pruitt, from hunting for housing to calling the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., in order to inquire about purchasing a used mattress.  Yes, you heard me right … for some unknown reason, Herr Pruitt wished to buy a used mattress from Trump Towers.  Ick. Pruitt’s top legal counsel, Sarah Greenwalt, also gave her resignation.

The democrats in Congress have long been fed-up with Pruitt’s costly antics, but this week, even the republicans are tired of it.

“I’m not going to come down here, just because he happens to be a nominee of a president I support or a nominee from my party, and try to defend the indefensible. I thought that Mr. Pruitt would have learned his lesson.” – Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana

“Some are true; some are not true. Whether he can weather the storm, I’m not sure. The accusations are all troubling. They are.” – Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of OklahomaThis man thinks the U.S. Treasury is his own personal bank account.  Remember Trump’s claim that he would “drain the swamp”.  Instead, he put Pruitt, the granddaddy of all alligators in it and feeds him well every day, at the White House mess, as it happens.  According to an article in Politico, Pruitt has been eating at the White House mess nearly every day … so often that he has been asked to cut back and “please eat elsewhere sometimes.”

It is past time for Scott Pruitt to hear the words, “You’re Fired”.  It is past time for We The People to demand accountability, starting with this very worst example of corruption, thievery and violations of ethics.  And it is far past time for Congress to demand that the Director of the EPA be fired without severance!  No, Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt is not doing an “impressive” job at the EPA, for he is far too busy wheeling and dealing, and wasting OUR money!